Responsible Research and Innovation – The Briefcase – Success Story

The Briefcase project is a new educational tool that uses hands-on learning strategies to teach students about the important role of mineral raw materials in everyday life and how our choices concerning these materials can shape the world. Through innovative learning experiences, students engage directly with the raw materials they are learning about, improving retention of the content and challenging them to consider their place as European and global citizens.

Euromines is a proud partner of The Briefcase and 3D Briefcase projects that has been selected by the Social Lab 16 working group of the NewHoRRIzon Project as the examples of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Projects inside the EIT program focused in Ethic dimension. Ethics is specifically about respecting fundamental rights and ethical standards in research and innovation, but also about asking what are potential long-term consequences of my project and how can I positively contribute to society. RRI is a key priority in Horizon2020 and the concept intends to bridge gaps between science, research and innovation communities and society.

Why is the Briefcase Project Important?

The Briefcase Project seeks to bring minerals and mining closer to society as a whole. Our ultimate hope is that citizens will know from an early age where the mineral products they use in daily life come from and how their purchase decisions affect the social environments of people who live in countries with resources exploitation.
This is a novel approach to teaching students to recognise common minerals and their applications while also reflecting on how their choices can encourage ethically robust practices among companies. The Briefcase shows the consequences of “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) – an attitude that has displaced part of mining outside Europe, sometimes to places where the human rights of workers involved are not respected.

It is not possible to live without minerals and mines, and extraction processes inevitably have consequences. However, through example and a friendly approach, we want students to see that mining is a critical, modern activity, and its impact on society and environment can be mitigated. This understanding is essential for creating a future with knowledgeable citizens who are able to make informed decisions.

How does The Briefcase work?

The first creation of the Briefcase Project was a physical briefcase containing examples of minerals and corresponding products for which they are used. There are many ways to utilise the Briefcase (you can learn more) to deepen knowledge, but the initial activity is a matching game in which students follow clues to identify how the minerals are used in common items. The Briefcase is designed for students between 6 and 14 years of age.

The Briefcase product has been used successfully by the Geomining museum and the IGME (Geological Survey of Spain) for ten years. Based on that experience, new thematic Briefcases have been configured, and the tool has been presented in different areas of Europe through workshops and demonstrations in universities and educative and research centres. You can learn more about the various Briefcase options now available here(link is external).

The material is available to the academic and educative community to be used in their courses in an autonomous way through a free lending service provided by the project partners.

The Briefcase game was recently developed, in which students play an interactive digital version of the primary Briefcase matching game. Clues help the students learn more about the minerals they are matching as well as additional information about how mining the minerals have impacted regions.

Play the GAME!(link is external)

Read more about the Project here.

Download files